The Back Pages: back-up features of the Bronze Age of comic books:
J’onn J’onzz The Martian Manhunter; Mission: Catch a Killer atory arc (read part one here)
Adventure Comics #451, June 1977
“Return to Destiny”
Writer: Denny O’Neil
Penciler: Michael Nasser, Inker: Terry Austin
Colorist: Liz Berube, Editor: Paul Levitz
From DC Wikia:
J’onn J’onzz, having eliminated Superman and Green Lantern from his list of suspects, confronts and attacks Hawkman and Hawkgirl in their Thanagarian spaceship and accuses them of R’es Eda’s murder. Hawkgirl rescues her husband and J’onzz from dying in airless space, and they prove their innocence to J’onzz, who apologizes. But N’or Cott has equipped a Superman robot with a bomb and sent it towards Hawkman’s ship, and it is admitted inside.
The reader discovers this story line concludes in the pages of World’s Finest Comic #245.
Frankly, even after all these years, this has to be the strangest dialogue to ever create a cliffhanger in comics…
Very strange …
World’s Finest #245
Writer: Bob Haney
Penciler: Curt Swan, Inker: Murphy Anderson
Colorist: Jerry Serpe, Letterer: Debra Schulman
Editor: Dennis O’Neil, Executive Editor: Joe Orlando
From DC Wikia:
After a mysterious Superman Robot attempts to murder J’onn J’onnz, Superman and Batman lend a hand on the investigation and return to Mars II with J’onn J’onzz after they learned that some Martians are trying to conquer a city, unaware that its atmosphere will prove deadly to them.
J’onn and Superman are unable to convince the Martians to stop their efforts, as they all believe J’onn is a traitor and they shouldn’t heed his words. Meanwhile, Batman finds a Martian who has been affected by the city’s deadly atmosphere and takes him to the rest of the Martians, who are finally convinced of the truth and decide to follow J’onn’s leadership.
Going from Nasser/Austin’s uber-gritty and realistic art to the legendary work of Swanderson is a jolt. A pleasant jolt, true, but still a jolt. The Nasser/Austin team was present in the Green Arrow/Black Canary tales in this same comic!
Also, O’Neil edited the story but handed the writing chore to WF regular Bob Haney.
Jonn Jonzz was, unfortunately, a third-tier (if that) character in the Bronze Age, appearing in a few issues of Justice League of America and in this back-up feature. His fortunes would change in the modern age with his stint in Keith Giffen’s Justice League and his own long-lasting series in the 80s and 90s. He is now also a regular character in the CW/TV series Supergirl.
About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped. Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!